Fifth means of relieving the souls in Purgatory: Suffering

– Voluntary suffering –

Let us relieve the souls in Purgatory, said St. Chrysostome; let us bring them relief through everything which grieves us; for God applies to the dead, the merits of the living. Suffering! It is the great atonement which the Lord asks of those indebted to His Justice; we suffer for them in order that they suffer less. Oh! If our faith was stronger, our charity more alive, what mortification we would impose upon ourselves to relieve and deliver the friends whom we loved so much and who are suffering so intensely? Penance, fasting and austerity would become our daily exercises. Let us at least have enough courage to accomplish small sacrifices: refusing a small pleasure, a dangerous affection, a bad reading, sacrificing a bad habit, a luxury or a vanity. Choose the better victim, said Father Felix, choose it from the depths of your heart. For those whom you loved the most, give up what is most dear to you; sacrifice your very selves and may the price of your sacrifice become the ransom for your loved ones.

Those blessed souls rise up on the wings of our sacrifices, our merits, our suffering. They rise triumphantly and thank us for our generosity. When they are in God’s Glory, they will give us back a hundred-fold what we have given them. What consolation and hope!

Oh Jesus crucified, help us to understand the price of suffering!

– Involuntary sacrifice –

If voluntary suffering disturbs our courage, Providence imposes suffering which is more salvific for us and for our deceased, because they are not of our own doing. These are afflictions, spiritual grief, and physical afflictions, which are unavoidable in this world. We know this. We find these afflictions everywhere.

Our life on earth is a continuous struggle, a long daily martyrdom. Should we complain? No, for all that pain can become a means of salvation for us and for others. We can use it to soothe the cruelest pains of those suffering holy souls in Purgatory. Yes, through the cross which Providence places on our shoulders, with that thorn which pierces our heart, with a tear, a sigh, with an act of resignation, we can relieve the great torments in Purgatory and dry the tears of our loved ones.

Courage then! Let us put up with a bit of cold. We will thus cool the souls who are burning in the fire of Justice. Let us put up with a little heat. It will turn the ardour of the flame into a light mist. Let us put up with a bit of discomfort. We will deliver souls from the depths in Purgatory. Let us accept fatigue and listlessness. We will lift them on high to the glories of Heaven: a moment of sorrow for us, for them an eternity of joy!

– Example –

St. Antoin tells of a sick man who suffered the most excruciating pains. He begged God to relieve his suffering, but to no avail. One day, an Angel appeared to him and said:

The Lord has sent me to offer you a choice between a year of suffering and one day in Purgatory.

The sick man did not hesitate for an instant. One single day in Purgatory! At least he would then be done with suffering. He died instantly and his soul was cast into the abyss of atonement. The compassionate Angel came to console him. Upon seeing the Angel, the poor soul cried out in a voice that was torn with pain: Seductive Angel, you deceived me. You assured me that I would only have one day to suffer in Purgatory and here I’ve been for twenty years suffering the most cruel torments.

You are mistaken; only a few minutes have elapsed since your death and your body is not yet cold on your death bed, replied the Angel.

Then ask God to allow me to return to earth to suffer anything God asks of me for a year, said the deceased.

His request agreed to, the ailing man spent that year convincing everyone he met to accept wholeheartedly all the suffering of this world rather than to expose themselves to the torments of the next life.

He often said, Patience in one’s suffering is the golden key to Heaven. Let us take advantage of this reality and offer our suffering.

He died at the end of the year as was agreed.

Let Us Pray

Be blessed, O my God who has willed that suffering and unceasing sorrows with which my life is sowed, become for me a source of abundant merit and a means of satisfying your Justice for the souls of my dear friends and relatives. Henceforth, far from complaining about my crosses, I will carry them with patience and resignation and You will grant me and my relatives your perfect Mercy. Oh Jesus, be their Conciliator! Call your dear children and our brethren to your kingdom of joy. May they rest in peace!

Let Us Pray

Lord, hear the prayers we will offer up to you every day of this month for the consolation of our deceased brothers and sisters and grant them a place of refreshing light and peace! Hear also the prayers which those souls will offer up to you for our intention that we might ultimately obtain, through their intercession, the graces for which we pray for.